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While using Unity I export an Android game as an APK. When the APK is run, the first thing that is displayed is the Unity splash screen. I worked out that I could replaced that image by opening the APK like a zip file, looking for the splash screen image (App.apk/assests/bin/Data/splash.png) and replacing it with any image I wanted.

Is it legal to publish Unity-powered Android game apps with modified splash screens like this? I remember that some games on PS3, 360 and Wii have been created with Unity but don't display a Unity splash screen when run on their respective consoles.

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You'd need to consult the Unity license for the answer; I doubt it's permissible, and the cases you're thinking of probably either got a special exemption or were allowed to display the logo/attribution elsewhere. –  Josh Petrie Mar 18 at 2:58
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I see. That means, if I customized the Unity splashscreen, it will be against the copyright and thinking I'm the founder of Unity and used to make this game, right? –  David Dimalanta Mar 18 at 3:02
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It would be against the license agreement; it would not necessarily be a copyright violation. It depends on the terms of the license. –  Josh Petrie Mar 18 at 3:14
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The default splashscreen is only required for Unity Free. I am 100% certain those Unity console games were using Unity Pro, and the splashscreen isn't required on Unity Pro. Look at the license comparison here, and refer to 'Custom Splashscreen' unity3d.com/unity/licenses –  jhocking Mar 18 at 16:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 25 down vote accepted

There are several sections of the Unity End-User License Agreement (which is for version 4.x as I write this, although earlier versions are similar) that pertaining to this issue.

The most directly relevant is section 3, which reads (in part):

You will not delete or in any manner alter any Unity or third-party copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices or markings appearing on or in the Software (including the runtime portion thereof).

This is a pretty straightforward answer to your question: no, you are not permitted to remove the Unity splash screen from your Unity-based game.

There are other restrictions, such as section 2.f, which reads (in part):

General Restrictions. Except as expressly specified in this Agreement, you may not: (i) copy (except in the course of loading or installing) or modify or create derivative works of the Software;

and continues

Accordingly, you agree not to disassemble, decompile or reverse engineer the Software, in whole or in part, or permit or authorize a third party to do so, except to the extent such activities are expressly permitted by law notwithstanding this prohibition.

For the terms of the license, the term "Software" refers to "all 4.x versions and updates of all the Unity software products identified on Unity’s website." Further, the agreement is governed by the laws of Denmark, a fact which probably does not particularly apply to this question but is nonetheless worth noting.

Your technique for digging around in the final binaries of the game and gutting the default splash screen pretty clearly violates the above; your only recourse for splash screen modification is going to be whatever is built-in to the version of Unity you have. Your technique violates the license agreement.

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If I upgrade to Unity Pro via payment, then, I can customize the splash screen and it will show up instead of the default splash screen when running on device. So therefore, modifying APK is strictly prohibited and that's why it won't run. –  David Dimalanta Mar 18 at 3:26
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Yes, Unity Pro supports Custom Splashscreens unity3d.com/unity/licenses –  jhocking Mar 18 at 16:54
    
Does Unity Free check the hash of the image or something? –  JesseTG Mar 18 at 20:11
    
I don't think so, I removed the Splash screen from a windows version in about 20 minutes. There is just a yes or no check because calling the splash screen function. Most programmers would never bother with a hash check on an image, because that could easily be subverted the way. –  Zv_oDD Mar 19 at 4:45
    
@Josh since your first quote mentions the "runtime portion" but the other two quotes do not, is it okay to modify and reverse engineer a Unity game that I built, as long as I do not violate the stuff in the first quote? –  higaki May 19 at 0:35

Even though hacking the APK seems easy but it will definitely not run, the other option I believe is to upgrade to the Unity Pro version and I found on some research onto it.

See links:

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+1 for actually finding a way around the problem (answering the real need and not just the question "is it legal?") –  Arlaud Pierre Mar 18 at 9:38

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